League-leading Wild go into break with big win over Blues
ST. PAUL, Minn.--Nino Niederreiter had a goal and two assists, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves as the Minnesota Wild entered the All-Star break with the most points in the Western Conference after a 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues o...
ST. PAUL, Minn.-Nino Niederreiter had a goal and two assists, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves as the Minnesota Wild entered the All-Star break with the most points in the Western Conference after a 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Mikael Granlund added a goal and an assist as Minnesota had goals from five different players and heads into the break with 69 points (32-11-5). Erik Haula, Tyler Graovac and Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild, who have won 21 of their past 26 games.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 21st goal of the season for St. Louis (24-20-5), but the Blues have lost four of their past five games.
St. Louis goaltender Carter Hutton made 25 saves on 30 shots before being pulled early in the third period when Niederreiter and Granlund scored in the first 2:11 of the period.
Jake Allen replaced Hutton and stopped all three shots he faced.
After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for four goals in the second. Just 23 seconds into the period, Haula scored his 10th goal of the season. Zach Parise brought the puck into the zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Haula, who snapped off a quick shot to beat Hutton.
Haula's fourth goal in six games gave Minnesota eight players with at least 10 goals this season, the highest total of any team in the NHL. The Wild had 11 players register double-digit goals all of last season.
Tarasenko, who has seven goals in 17 regular-season meetings and six in six playoff games against Minnesota, tied the score with his 21st goal of the season. Jaden Schwartz blocked a shot in the defensive zone and then sent a pass up the middle of the ice to a streaking Tarasenko, who split a pair of Wild defenders on the breakaway.
Graovac was credited with his first goal in 17 games after Niederreiter's pass went off his skate. Koivu added a power-play goal with 10.9 seconds left in the period after Niederreiter lost the puck but rallied to regain possession before Koivu popped the puck over Hutton in a scrum at the net.
NOTES: St. Louis recalled C Ivan Barbashev from the American Hockey League on Thursday with C Kyle Brodziak going on injured reserve. Brodziak will be re-evaluated in five weeks as he deals with a right-foot injury. Barbashev made his NHL debut centering the Blues' fourth line. Barbashev was a second-round pick in 2014 and had 19 goals and 18 assists in 44 games in the AHL this season. ... St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock entered the night one win behind Al Arbour for third on the NHL's all-time coaching wins list with 781 victories. ... Minnesota will be represented at the All-Star game by coach Bruce Boudreau, D Ryan Suter and G Devan Dubnyk. RW Vladimir Tarasenko will represent the Blues.